Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to Stop Strips

"Extra Extra Fancy" has reached the length of a queen bed.  Since it is to be a TWIN, I'm stopping with the strips now.  I will put a "stopper" strip down the sides and then a wider border.  I really like this strippy look!  And it is doing a good job working off some left over blocks and strips in my stash.

Good last rehearsal before the Grand Rapids Women's Chorus winter concert this Saturday [7:30 pm at Trinity Methodist].  Lori, our Director, says that we are "ready for an audience".  No Christmas music, so it won't interrupt your observance of Advent.   Free will offering, no intermission [concert lasts only one hour], and refreshments afterwards.  A good deal.  Hope some of you can make it!



Warm bed last night, tho' TWO quilts are a little heavy
ipod lets me review last night's rehearsal
Progress on two quilt tops

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Extra Extra Fancy"

Still adding more to the Strip Quilt of Orphans.  I added the confetti blocks on the top of THIS half of the Strip Quilt.  And I want you to notice the words "extra extra fancy" on a part of a rice bag fabric.  I think it may be a good title for this quilt.

 And here is the other half with its row of confetti blocks.  To the right is my next row.  With four blocks like this I almost had the right width for the quilt, so I just added a little spacer bar between each to make it up to 48".  Not sure yet where this on is going to fit, probably in the center, so it will be sure to show, not be tucked under the mattress.

I found some time for knitting over the weekend while riding in the car, and while conversations were in progress.  I "turned the heel" in both socks and am now working on the heel gusset decreases.  Hope to get them finished for a gift.



Still turkey for lunch!
Making progress on the Two-socks-at-once project
A few more Japanese words made it into my head [for Women's Chorus]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Puss in the Corner blocks

Stack of 80 Puss in the Corner blocks in my UFO cupboard.  All I need in an alternate block to separate these and make them more interesting.

The solution:

was on the cover of "Nickel Quilts".  She has constructed her block differently, with four patches added in the corners, but I can simply use another of the Puss in the Corner blocks there!  Hoo-ha, this is going to be simple.

Using two shades of blue rectangles will make a "frame" for half the blocks in dark and half in light.  They are laid out on the design bed.  There's a minor problem with the edges finishing the design, but I'll worry about that later.  Now to sew them together.



Start of Advent
Leftover turkey for lunch sandwich
Saw the end of "The Wizard of Oz" last night on TV, 
     had forgotten that Toto is a hero

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Growing Strip Quilt

Back to the Strip Quilt of Orphan blocks.  I had two strips of left-overs from a charity quilt at the beginning of the year, rather poor quality batiks in pink and green.  By piecing them together I got the right length, twice.

I added one to each section of strips I had started.
I think these various rows will look better with a spacer in between too, so I added a red strip on the right where my next idea was going..

I had found a basket of waste HSTs from a project of two years ago, so sewed them together into three rows that were a little over 48" long.

The fabric was not really the best for HSTs this small [finish 1.25"], but they were already made!  And just another example of scraps I can't seem to throw away.  "Some day" I will use them for something.  Today was "some day".

So here is the next step in the Strip Quilt of Orphans.
Next a couple of rows of Confetti blocks.  I'll check to see if I have 16 of those, or if I have to finish off a few more.

I chose 48" for the width of this top because I think that will cover the width of the top of a twin bed.  When I have made the top about 60" long, I will add borders to bring it up to 60" x 72".



Saved cup of Wendy's chili heated for lunch
Winterberry bush showing red in a gray day
Warmth, light, food, good health

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roll, Roll Cotton Boll, Step 2

Big stack of triangles cut in pairs this morning.  After lunch they were all sewn together into squares.  Quilters call them Half Square Triangles, or HSTs.

120 are made, and now need to be "squared up", or trimmed to the exact size, 3.5 inches.  I tried to pick out dark enough browns to contrast with the medium blues I had chosen for Step 1.  I found that I had fewer browns that I had thought-- or a lot of them were too light.  The ones that look RED are really more of a RUST brown.  Now I'll store these away until Bonnie Hunter gives us Step 3 of the Mystery next Friday.

I am challenging myself to add a row a day to a "strip" quilt I am making of left-over trimmings and blocks.

I started with the remaining strip-pieced HSTs and so far have added a row on each side of the two 48" long pieces.  Now I am looking through groups of orphan blocks.  I hope to find enough that are the same height to make a couple more 48" strips.

Just between the kitchen sink faucet and the window we have these "Christmas" cactuses.  My experience is that they decide the time to flower is Thanksgiving, rather than Christmas.  So I am enjoying them right now, and a hope for a week or two.



Lynne packed LOTS of leftovers from the feast for us to bring home.
Buttered toast and turkey for breakfast
No need to go out shopping with the crowds today!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, Step 1

"Roll, Roll Cotton Boll" is Bonnie Hunter's current Mystery.  This week we are working on Step 1, in which she uses Pink and Green.  I have decided to substitute medium blue for the pink.  Mostly I picked pretty bright, limey greens.

I put my 2" strips of green and blue in these little bins, then I pulled out one by one and made the three strip strata.  Now they are all crosscut into 2" sets.  We are required to have 172; I have 201 because I wasn't using just one size of strip and I didn't realize how many I had cut toward the end.


I'm having some blurring in my LEFT eye, not the one I usually have examined by the retinologist, so we are going to check that out this noon.



Good health care, and Charlie to drive me there and home again
Warmth and shelter, now that the cold has come

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chopsticks Quilt

While at the Gwen Marston  Retreat I put together four "confetti" blocks into a larger block.  Then I slashed them and inserted narrow strips, like chopsticks.  Here are two corner areas blown up so you can see how the blocks were constructed.

I thought I would calm down the chaos by using blue sashing strips and yellow cornerstones. [When I said that to my Bee they all chuckled.  You mean that doesn't calm it down?]

Here's the whole thing,  47" x 60", not big enough for a twin bed, but a "snuggle" quilt.  For someone who likes bright colors!  Another UFO bites the dust.

Oh yes, here is  most of the back:

Second to the last rehearsal for the Women's Chorus' Winter Concert to night.  We're getting there!  Mostly singing without the music; two more weeks to learn the rest.



Breakfast out with Charlie before exercise class
An incredibly warm day for November
Started pulling fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Star Mystery quilt finished after 13 years!

Done!  Quilted, bound and labelled.  And hanging on the kitchen wall behind the eating counter.  It is 68" X 84".

My UFO album shows me standing in front of this top in 1997, no borders at that time.  The Ruched Rose Terrorists Bee made this as a mystery trial for Judy Hopkins.

Here's a close-up of one block to show the quilting that Mary Davis did on the center blocks.

And here is a fuzzy photo of one of my "unresolved" cable quilting corners.  The vertical border has a cable that just runs off the end.

Glad, glad, glad to have it done!  In Finn's challenge, this is #4 out of the five I said I would finish before New Year's.  And I am "on target" for my own "Two a Month" challenge at the beginning of 2010.



Charlie called to say he is only an hour from home
Got this quilt in the washer before going to church
Second temporary camera is still functioning

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Regular Saturday: Piano Jazz and Opera

Saturday habit: listening to "Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland" in the morning and the opera broadcast in the afternoon.  That means that I am at the sewing machine at those times as a common practice.  This afternoon it is "The Queen of Spades", which is all new to me!

Sewing work is completing the borders on a quilt that may be 10-12 years old.  This was a "mystery" from a famous quilting teacher that my previous Bee tested out for her.

For some reason I had the main part quilted, and thought I would add the wide borders later.  "Later" was a long time in arriving.  On three sides the border, batting and backing had been attached (not quilted), but the fourth side was un touched.  Why?  Can't figure that out now -- the pieces of fabric were right there.  I found a possible weight of batting and pieced it together.  I have sewn the last border, etc. and am quilting this cable design from a stencil.

Since I am so eager to get this FINALLY finished, I am not trying to resolve the corners, but am just going to the end of each border and stopping.  I tell myself this is an ancient, traditional quilting practice. [I have heard well-known experts say this!]



- "Carmina Burana" was still interesting last night, tho' I'd rather something less often preformed
- Lots of time to sew
- Our kitchen eating counter the right height for cutting, pinning, trimming

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birch Lodge #2

Back from my LA quilter, Catherine Martin.  She put a sparsely leaved vine on the vertical sashing strips, and something like curling waves going across the panels.  Now when you look at the whole quilt, you might not recognize immediately that there are sashings and panels!

I put this together in early October at Gwen Marston's retreat.  I followed her example of making the sashing strips of the same fabrics that were in the blocks.  This makes the blocks not so obvious and creates some new shapes.  There are six columns of blocks and spacers and only three vertical sashing strips.

Trimmed it and put on the binding today.  Yoh, Finn!  This makes my 3rd UFO finish before the New Year.  Mark it on your list!

The blocks were the remnants of Birch Lodge #1, made two years ago on my first Beaver Island Quilt Retreat:

That one is not yet quilted because I don't think it is finished developing.  I think the Log Cabin is too low.  It loses its connection with the scene.



Cherry pie
Fresh haircut
Symphony concert tonight

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Strip Star bordered

There it is on the living room loveseat.  I decided to simply copy the inner borders on the outside.  Makes it a 66" square.

When I had already started to add the borders, I got a message from Finn suggesting that I try the outer triangles the other way, with the dark side next to the inner borders.  Hmm, I think she was right.  Too late now tho', I'm ready to call this one finished.

I'm not in love with it, but I think the borders improved matters quite a bit. Another UFO ready to go to Margaret's Hope Chest.


Next a pile of red and cream Puss-in-the-Corner blocks I made a few years ago.  I suddenly found a possible alternate block that will make them a lot more interesting. . .and it is SIMPLE. . . and it will use up more stash.

Now I'm off to my monthly Bee meeting, The SpoolSpinners.  We will be finalizing our plans for next month's party, and also what special project we want to work on together during next year.  Catherine says she has two quilts to hand back to me after quilting them.  So more photos tomorrow.



Suggestions from Internet friends, even if I don't use them
New trousers arrived in the mail
Good bass sectional rehearsal last night

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fabric Sample Squares

Several long years ago, I belonged to the Cotton Club, which sent out monthly samples.  A few years ago I thought to make a Sample Squares Quilt with a pile of them.  I cut some squares in half to make sashings.  I cut some squares in quarters to make cornerstones. I made quite a few rows on eight.  Then I sewed some rows together, and another day I sewed some more rows together.  Something was wrong when I was going to sew the two pieces together.  The sashing wasn't on the "same" side.  Who knew there was a "wrong" side?  I looked at it and looked at it.  And I almost cried.  I put the whole thing away.

Today I am older and wiser.  I manipulated the two big segments around until I saw that I only needed to make two more strips of the sashing, sew them on the "right" sides, and all would be well. . . .and FINISHED.  So today I did that.

Bingo another top for Margaret's Hope Chest.

I gave myself a break and had "15 Minutes of PLay" as advocated the Victoria of Bumblebeans.  I thought it was time to experience something monochromatic, so I pulled all the GREEN I could find in my String Bin.  Then I "thoughtlessly" sewed.

The really clever thing I did next was. . . [wait for it]. . . I put all the green fabric and new blocks away in a paper grocery bag, out of sight.  So I'm not distracted until I need the time for a break again.

Now I have a star UFO made of string-made HSTs, and a pile more of the HSTs.  So far I have put three plain inner borders around the star, and I am thinking about using the HSTs outside them.

They are all lying on my Design Bed.  I will have to decide SOMETHING before I go to sleep, even if I do go and read a little escapist fiction this evening.


Lynne was well enough to make it to GRWC rehearsal last night
A morning to sleep in [until 9:30!]
Asiago Cheese bread at Panera

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two more UFO tops done

The many checkerboards were connected with the large HSTs -- with a wonky star in the middle of where they came together.  Below the star and to the right you can see that not everything is really a checkerboard.  I used up some already pieced larger squares as well.  And a nine-patch is to the upper left of the star.

Here is the whole thing, currently hanging on the kitchen wall.  Not bad, I figure; and since there is very little "girly" about it, probably can go to a boy.

For the last three days I have been finishing a top that was started inn a Bonnie Hunter workshop last March.

I think I made 12 blocks during the workshop, and then continued on with leaders/enders.  They are all now together, except one which went into the orphan box.  I just finished the borders.

Since I started this project earlier THIS year, I don't count it as an ancient UFO. . .but  I set myself the goal this year of finishing my new starts (except three), so I needed to finish up this one.

I'm adding these two to the bag for Margaret's Hope Chest. I will drop them off on Wednesday, and they will take care of quilting and distributing them.  Maybe I can get one more top together for them by Wednesday.



* Charlie is on a mission trip to New Orleans for five days.  Glad he is able and willing. 
* Women's Chorus mini-concert last night went well
* leftover pizza for lunch

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Checkerboards and process

Next UFO that was calling to me:  I've got eleven of these 64-patch units.  Not the right number to make a bed quilt.  So I'm looking for the basket of four-patches I make as leader/enders, so I can make a few more while I cogitate.

I've also got 10 of these HSTs, which are the same size as the four-patches.  So I added them along one short side of the six checkerboard blocks that were already sewn together:

 And I have some other odd 4.5" blocks in a drawer.  Here are some examples.

I'm going to see if I can utilize a few of these as well.  Maybe I'll get a lap or twin sized quilt out of these!



Doctor says my Blood Pressure is responding well to medication
Another sunny day
Financial gurus request that we come in THIS WEEK to talk did not mean we were bankrupt, just that they were changing companies. Whew!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Martha's Baby Quilt Re-Bound

Binding is now what I consider a "normal" width.  And since there was no label on this old, old quilt,

I got out a fine-line marker and wrote on the back edge "Made for Martha Homeyer 1973 by her Mom. ReBound in 2010."

I added four hearts in a blank white block to match those I had added sometime between then and now.  So now there are equal hearts on each half of the quilt.
Tho' there are some very worn spots where some of the seams meet in the middle, I am not going to do anything about them.  This has been a very well/much used quilt in 37 years, and it has been chewed on by dogs.  I think it can just go on to being "used up" in the future.



Sunny, sunny day
Remembered to turn clock BACK last night
My dear Charlie collects the trash every Sunday night and takes it out to the street

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday Progress on UFOs

I completed the outer ring of this quilt top this morning.  It is 45" square, which might be a good size for a baby quilt.  As I try to imagine how to quilt it, I can see that the large muslin areas would be a good place for some decorative/impressive quilting.  But that's not something I'm much good at.  I'm going to lay this aside for a day or two to decide if I'm going to try quilting it myself, or hand it on to someone else.

Now for a change I'm looking at this problem:

Two examples of the edge of my daughter's quilt, made in Oakland, CA in about 1972 -- my very first quilt ever.  I found it at her house with this "eaten" edge.  I'm going to re-bind the quilt, and make a few other "corrections".
Clearly I had turned over the edge of the backing and made it the front binding.  It is very puffy, and as I ripped out the seam, I found out why:

DOUBLE batting!  Well, what did I know back in 1972?  Not much.

So this is my afternoon project ; opening up that seam, cutting off the excess and re-binding with fresh but matching fabric.
And listening to Don Giovanni on NPR from Houston Opera.



Left by Charlie to sleep late this morning
Dianne in a good mood after her knee repair
Rigoletto this evening

Friday, November 5, 2010

'Nother UFO

I don't know what this block is called, but it is made of one large HST and five small HSTs.  It looks a little like a Chinese hat to me, if you put the long diagonal line downwards.   I had nine blocks in a bag along with many small HSTs  and some uncut fabric.  First step:  make the rest of the fabric into more blocks!

Now I had enough blocks for a medallion-style center.

While making the additional blocks I decided to make "some" of them with the large HST facing the opposite way, making more of a basket-style block.  Two of them were yellow, and they went in the center of the medallion.  I had four left of the darker blue, so, obviously the place to put them would be in the outer corners.

Now I am fooling around with the 36 extra small HSTs and a few squares to make a line from corner to corner.  This will REALLY use up all the remaining fabric in this bag.  With some additional muslin. . . .



Good quilting progress today
WBLU kept me company with classical music
Snow "showers" stayed in the air, not on the ground

Needed More Borders

My unconscious mind had something to say during the night:  "Another set or borders."  So this A.M. I found a medium blue and a medium green fabric to enlarge last night's "finish".  Now it is really ended at 54" x 70".

This is an example of how one project can create more projects.  The centers of these log cabins were leftovers from a long-ago blue and white quilt top.  About two years ago I added the wonky log cabin strips in blue and green.  That was probably on a day I needed to do some "mindless" sewing [and use up some strips and strings]. Last year I had some leftover white strips, so I started putting the blocks together with uneven white sashing, but didn't get very far.

Therefore in one form or another this has been a UFO for at least three years.  Thank goodness I can now release it!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Floating Log Cabins

Today I finished putting these Crazy Log Cabin blocks together with unequal sashings.  These nine blocks made a square quilt top, which doesn't seem the best for covering even a child's body.  So after not too much thought I made a large checkerboard border for two sides, which should make it more of a rectangle.

I have lost any enthusiasm I had for this when I started it long ago.  Therefore I am going to fold it up and hand it on to Margaret's Hope Chest for them to quilt and give to some kid who needs it.  I'm calling it a "finished" UFOI for me, because I'm getting it out of the house!

Now to get ANOTHER UFO out of the closet and onto the machine so I can think about it tomorrow.  I haver joined Finn's challenge to finish UFOs before the New Year.  I'm claiming I will finish FIVE, which is one over two a month.



Got down on the floor and up again at exercise class with no help
Keeping my focus on UFOs
Out for a Chinese dinner

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day accomplishments

As I began clearing off the bed in my sewing room, I found some two-patches leftover from a previous zig-zag baby quilt.  Rather than hide them away (as I probably should have done), I used them with some other scraps to make a checkerboard.

Today I added the borders, including this "wild" batik outer border.  I'm not madly in love with this project, so I am going to hand it on to Margaret's Hope Chest for them to finish.  I know they will find a happy recipient.

This afternoon I located the little top I made from the scraps of Peter and Lynne's quilt, Emerald Forest.  Lying near it was a leftover piece of green polar fleece -- ah ha! -- a perfect backing AND batting.  Since Tuesday is my "dedicated to quilting day", I rushed back from voting [rather than running some errands] and quickly quilted this one and even got it bound.

I also found on the bed a set of FQs I took to Florida two years ago and augmented, but never had started a project.  I also found a book about FQ projects. . . . but I managed to NOT begin anything with these treasures.  Instead I laid them aside and looked for a particular UFO I had been musing about.

That True UFO is finally on the sewing machine for the next time I get in there.
Nevertheless: I am glad to be ready to get those two projects away and out of my sewing room!

Meanwhile Bonnie Hunter has announced the start date of her next mystery: Nov. 19.  I'm uncertain about participating.  He quilts are labor intensive, and I want to keep working on my UFO goal for this year.  Well, I can always start in the new year.  And she does intend that we use everything from our stash - something I also want to keep working on.



No real line at the polling place
Lots of sun out my window as I was sewing
Charlie panfried some yummy talapia for dinner